Benjamin Pohlig

Democracy in Movement – Bodies of Protest

Oslo Natinal Academy of the Arts, Academy of Dance

The PhD project “Democracy in Movement – Bodies of Protest” combines artistic research with practical field studies to investigate the role that bodies and movement play in our democracies and especially in forms of protest today. It asks what can be learned about protests as a part of our democratic process if looked at through the lens of dance and choreography.

Over the past decade different social movements have taken to the streets en masse to express their political will by moving bodies, be it through gathering, marching, lying down or dancing. “Democracy in Movement – Bodies of Protest” will conduct field studies into these kinds of protest movements and create choreographic formats to reflect on how they rehearse and perform political will with bodies and movement on a large as well individual scale. The project will probe and experiment with possibilities to experience and practice a physical sense and agency of citizenship through dance and choreography, while also questioning how dance itself can become a site of protest. The project intends to operate at and generate knowledge from the intersections of art and politics, to elucidate the choreographies and movements underlying our democracies, both in order to question the significance of dance in wider society, as well as to make physical experiences of politics accessible to a general public.

Benjamin Pohlig (KHiO/dance) is a choreographer, dancer and researcher originally from Berlin. He studied contemporary dance both in England and Belgium.  In his choreographic work, he explores the theatre as agora, a place in which social and political behaviours are not only practised, but are 

also experienced physically. This concept appears across his works, including the participatory solo "dance yourself clean", and his collaborations "5 seasons" and "A Farewell to Flesh". As a dancer, he
has worked internationally with amongst others Martin Nachbar and Isabelle Schad. From 2019 to 2022 was he an ensemble member of Cullberg. As a researcher he continues to investigate both the concept of social choreography and how to speak about climate change through dance.